The Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC), a business incubator with a focus on developing Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs in Ghana’s green economy, has launched an interest-free loan scheme for its alumni.
The interest-free loan, according to Ruka Sanusi – the GCIC’s Executive Director, is part of fulfilling its objective to offer a full suite of financing and capacity building services to Ghanaian technologists, entrepreneurs and new ventures that addresses challenges to starting and scaling their climate technology businesses.
With this initiative, the Centre seeks to offer US$10,000 to each entrepreneur and alumnus that applies for the loan over a period of eight months. As a revolving fund, the Centre’s exposure to every Cohort will be US$50,000.
Abdul-Nasser Alidu, Entrepreneurship Director of the Centre, explained that after the one-year mentorship for entrepreneurs they might need money for their short-term working capital needs – hence the need for financial support.
“Basically, what happens is that entrepreneurs stay in the incubator for one year; after the one year they become alumni. But what we also recognise is that even as alumni, they will have certain needs. So, we have come up with this interest-free loan that will be open to alumni of the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre.
“The point is to give them a short-term funding that they can use to execute their short-term working capital needs. We are giving them up to eight months to repay, but the significant part is that it is an interest-free loan,” he said.
Bernice Dapaah, CEO of the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative and an alumnus of the centre, said this initiative will help leverage the work they do as entrepreneurs.
“I think it is quite interesting, because one of the challenges that entrepreneurs are going through is about getting financing. If GCIC is giving this opportunity to leverage what we are doing, I think it is quite interesting and that people will need to go into it,” she said.
The interest-free loan for the alumni of GCIC was launched at the Centre’s first graduation ceremony after its inauguration last year at the Ashesi University campus. Cohort 1 (the first graduates) of the centre comprised ten entrepreneurs.
The Ghana Climate Innovation Centre has the objective of developing and supporting ventures and entrepreneurs who are providing solutions for climate change issues in Ghana. The Centre focuses on five sectors: solar energy, energy-efficiency, waste management, climate-smart agriculture, and water management and purification.
GCIC is funded by a grant from the governments of Denmark and the Netherlands through the World Bank, and managed by a consortium comprising Ashesi University College, Ernst and Young, SNV and United Nations University.